Korea 101: 11 Things You Should Know

By Koreaboo

Ever feel like you don't know much about Korean culture? Have a friend who is completely clueless? Take a read to learn the basics of the culture of Korea!

  • The Basics

    Korea is a peninsula in East Asia. The capital city is Seoul, and the country has a population of about 50 million.

  • Shoes Off!

    When entering a Korean home, take your shoes off. The floor is a place for sleeping and sitting, so wearing shoes into the house is considered rude.

  • High School Graduation Fun

    To celebrate the end of High School and moving on to new things, students have a big food fight with flour and eggs. By the end of it, everyone is coated with powder and goo!

  • T'aegukki is the National Flag

    The flag symbolizes the yin (in red) and yang (in blue), which, as a whole, symbolizes perfect balance and harmony of the universe.

  • Touching is Perfectly Acceptable

    In Korea, you'll see girls walking hand in hand, or boys with their arms around each other's shoulders. This form of touching is perfectly normal in Korea.

  • Surnames & Titles First

    In Korea, people are often addressed by their last names or their titles first, rather than their first names.

  • Receiving Things

    Whether someone is passing a cup, bowl, or pen—anything, you should receive it with two hands to show respect, especially if the giver is older than you.

  • Drinks

    Drinking is a big part of Korean culture. When pouring drinks, be sure to pour for others, and let others pour for you. It's seen as bad etiquette to pour your own drink.

  • Beckoning

    When you beckoning to a person, do it with your palm down, & flutter your hand up and down with your fingers touching together. It is not polite to beckon with your palm up.

  • Eye Contact

    Tradiditionally, Koreans prefer indirect eye contact, choosing instead to focus on the conversation.

  • Kimchi

    Kimchi is big in Korea. It's sliced cabbage fermented with red chili sauce and anchovy paste. It's spicy, sour, served with almost every meal, and most importantly, delicious.